Waiting for your insurance to kick in can be frustrating, especially if it the first time that you are getting it. After all, getting a doctor’s appointment can take weeks, and you want to get in and be seen and make sure that you are healthy. In some cases, you may even need immediate treatment for some illness or condition. So, how long do you have to wait before your insurance starts and is there anything that you can do to speed the process along? That’s exactly what we are going to be exploring in this article so that you understand how the entire process works.
The Steps You Need to Take First
There are certain steps that you are going to have to take first in order to get your insurance going. Most people are going to go through the healthcare marketplace in order to get their insurance – at least if and until the law changes. The health marketplace has all of the insurance plans, plan premiums and information about deductibles and co-pays to help you determine which plan is right for you. So, the first step in the process is simply to become familiar with the healthcare marketplace and choose the right plan for you.
The next thing that you will do is apply for the plan. Once you have filled out all of your information and paid the first monthly premium then your application will need to go in for processing. This will take anywhere from two to six weeks; although the average wait time for your insurance to start being effective is about three weeks. You should get a letter along with your other materials like your insurance card that tells you the date that your insurance becomes active. Sometimes, insurance will become active on the 1st day of the month after you apply and get accepted.
The Waiting Period
The waiting period will vary from one company to another. It depends upon several factors. First, it depends upon what the company policy is. As mentioned, some companies make you eligible to start using their services within a couple of weeks while other insurance may not be available until the following month. Sometimes, insurance companies will even work retroactively, covering medical procedures and costs that happened in the last 30-90 days. This is pretty rare, but it does happen.
The good news is, these companies will generally inform you as to the date when you will be able to start using their insurance. They will send a letter that has your insurance card that may have a specific start date on it as well as an expiration date. This website you which day your benefit should be available, but it may take a couple of extra days past that point to actually finish processing your application so you may want to wait 48 hours or so after that initial start date to make sure that you are going to be able to get reimbursed or that your deductible will count.
What You Can Do in the Meantime
In the meantime, if you need to have some kind of minor procedure done or you need to be seen by a doctor because of an urgent issue, then you may want to go with one of the various urgent cares that are scattered around every city. They usually charge a couple hundred dollars to check you out and treat you. For chronic conditions, you may want to explain that you’re waiting for your regular health insurance to kick in and they may be able to prescribe you medication to get you through until your actual doctors visit comes.
You can also check with your healthcare plan provider directly and explain that you need immediate medical care. They may be able to expedite your application or have some other kind of program that will allow you to get temporary coverage so that you can see your doctor before your health insurance actually kicks in. There are lots of options out there when it comes to trying to get treatment before your coverage starts, but most of the time; coverage doesn’t take very long to begin after the application and first month’s premium.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that there are lots of different factors that affect how long it takes for your coverage to start after you have applied for it. If you are applying for Medicaid specifically, most states have retroactive coverage, some of it even going back as far as six months or a year. However, when it comes to for-profit health insurance companies, there is rarely retroactive coverage but you should see your coverage start in two or three weeks – or the very next month at the longest.